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Vera Van Heeringen - Proper Brew (Wood and Steel Records)

Star rating: 
4

The cover artwork of Vera van Heeringen's second solo album release, once again co-produced by the now established team of Vera and Andy Bell, sees the Dutch-born, now Wales-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist sitting before possibly the same wooden structure, albeit seated this time around with a guitar and cuppa at the ready, rather than the standing pose on her debut STANDING TALL. The ten original songs once again demonstrate a specific stylist at work, each of the songs imbued with a strong Americana flavour, both in terms of instrumentation - guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and lap steel - as well as in style. Even the songs that are performed pretty much solo, such as Milk and Honey, with its sparse accompaniment are immediately beautifully structured and complete with a minimum of fuss. Likewise, the full-on production jobs on such songs as the title instrumental Proper Brew and the Western Swing-styled toe-tapper Riverside House, show a completely tuned-in approach to a music borne of another era entirely. If His Own Way was the heart-stoppingly gorgeous song on Vera's debut back in 2012, then Cold Winter Evening, with guest singer Kris Drever, takes that same position here. With further contributions from Old-Time fiddler Rayna Gellert, Appalachian-entrenched musician Dirk Powell, former New Rope String Bandmate Jock Tyldesley, touring partner Neil McSweeney and towering figure of American roots music Tim O'Brien, PROPER BREW joins STANDING TALL as a highly regarded and valued addition to the growing canon of UK-based Americana flavoured releases.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky

Airplay: Never Enough Time (Show 372/19.04.15) 
Airplay: Riverside House (Show 373/26.04.15)
Airplay: Cold Winter Evening (Show 378/31.05.15)
Release Date: 18.06.15
More Info: www.veravanheeringen.com